Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Tempest Arms, Elslack

I actually went here for my 30th Birthday and never intended having a pie but it was on the menu and I just couldn't bring myself to order anything else. It was a real dilemma as the menu was amazing with an extensive list of winter comfort food.
So I went for the Steak, Kidney and Shallots Pudding which comes with a bowl of hand cut chips.
I was expecting another pale looking steamed pudding but this had been baked... just how I prefer it, with a slight crunch to the pastry.
It was stocked full of steak & kidney and flavoured with the shallots, a really nice combination with a definitive homemade quality about it.
The food and the environment was good but I did have to wait 55mins for the dish to arrive as my service was affected by a conference on in another room.
Still a very good Steak & Kidney Pie Experience and gets a 7.5

Monday, 22 November 2010

Feast of a Pie

I'd heard The Sun Inn at Red Dial near Wigton in Cumbria was a great place to stop for a hearty meal so I popped in when I was passing yesterday.
Its perched on the brow of a hill with views over The Solway Firth towards Scotland.
When I ordered The Homemade Steak & Kidney Pie I asked what it was served with and the barmaid replied with a laugh.. 'everything'.
She wasn't kidding either.
It was served on a plate with peas and mushrooms.
Then another two trays arrived: one with a pile of real chips and the other with new potatoes, carrots and cabbage.
The pie itself was very similar to the Fray Bentos experience in taste and pastry but on a larger scale and for under £8 it can't be ignored as it really is great value for money.
Its a little out of the way for most of us Yorkshire folk, even at that price but if you are passing near Wigton (between Cockermouth and Carlisle), you will struggle to find anywhere that offers a dish of that size and price. It gets an overall 6.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

So if you like a bit of posh nosh...

This is the most expensive Steak & Kidney experience so far, coming in at over £13.00 at The Spread Eagle at Sawley.
It is more like a restaurant in a pub so maybe that's why they think its worth the extra cash?
The dish was Homemade Steamed Steak & Kidney Pudding served on a long plate with a gravy boat, mash and mixed veg.
I have aired my views about steamed pudding before and one reason is that I'm not keen on the rather pale look of the pudding. However, I was in for a surprise as it tasted very nice indeed and wasn't soggy at all.
The pastry to filling ratio was spot on and the quality of the mash and veg was top notch, accompanied by plenty of tasty gravy.
In my opinion, it is was another good SPE (Steak Pie Experience) and the service was excellent as was the quality of food but because of the high price tag, I became distracted about value for money and so it gets an 8.
Its a nice place and well worth a visit if you're in the mood for some posh pie.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Best... Only smaller!

Yes, that's right, the Craven Heifer now do a small version of their 'pie to beat'.
I only went in for a quick snack and saw this on the weekday lunchtime menu, I thought it was worth a try.
Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. Its just as good as the large one in terms of pastry to filling ratio etc and still the same excellent service with nice fresh veg and real chips.
Its up there with the best of them and for a quick lunch, its great. Well actually, its more of a 'normal size' meal and more than adequate for most folk. Fully deserves a 7.5 on the pie chart.

Online Steak & Mushroom Recipe

This recipe was found online and is very easy to make.
I basically printed it off and handed it to Mrs Pie man.
We used frozen pastry for convenience.
It looked amazing when it came out of the oven.
It was tasty too, with the red peppers and tomato puree giving it a nice twist of flavour.
It would no doubt be improved by making your own pastry and the recipe gets an overall score of 7.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

World Northern Soul Dance Championships at Blackpool Tower

So I'm there right, minding my own business on the famous sprung dance floor when out of nowhere, this chap with massive flairs and a mullet waltz's past me eating a pie. I could smell it was steak so I improvised with some fancy footwork, navigating through even more flairs and mullets and gliding my way closer to the food counter.
I was right, a Steak & Pepper pie at £2.25.
I must have been dancing for about 7 mins so had worked up quite an appetite and was well in the mood for a quick snack and a brew.
I was pleasantly surprised with the taste of this little northern gem, lots of peppered steak and gravy all served up in a pastry parcel on a standard paper plate, complete with plastic fork and paper napkin.
As far as take-away pies go, its a perfect snack to keep you going on a Northern Soul Weekender, with a good filling to pastry ratio and a freshness to the pastry.
Blackpool Tower, a great place with surprises round every corner, I would certainly try one of these again and give it a 6

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Not just any Fray Bentos...

As you can imagine, I get lots of recommendations for eating at fine places throughout the country (mainly in East Lancs at the moment). Just recently people have been sending me pies to sample at home in front of the TV, so it seems logical to document my PIE TV Experiences on the Norths best pie blog. And if we believe that there is only one place to get good pies (North of England) then we are talking about the best pie blog in the whole pie eating world, as we know it.

So anyway, the first Pie TV experience is from the great British institution that is Marks & Spencer.
Its sold as 'Prime British Beef in a rich 'Batemans Ale' sauce topped with a Thyme & Rosemary Puff Pastry'.
I got the missus to stagger the delivery just so I could capture the process.
The overhanging discs of pastry draped over deep dishes ready to bake didn't look that appetising.
They rose quite well and reminded me of late nights and Fray Bentos suppers.
As instructed, we flipped off the pastry tops and poured out the filling: lots of red sauce, a few chunks of meat and some bacon lardons.
Once on the plate, things started to look like a decent pair of pies.
The sauce was very tasty with the bacon adding a positive kick to the tomato sauce.
The pastry kept some of its chewy elasticity (just like the old days) and wasn't dry at all.
It really has got lots and lots of flavour this posh Fray Bentos and it went well with a simple tin of peas for a quick TV pie supper.
There was plenty of room for more steak in the dish but the flavour and quality of the meat contribute to an overall experience of 5, which is very good for a ready meal pie in a tin. Well done M&S, just need to add some mushrooms (large enough to be picked out by non mushroom lovers of course) and this will be a great pie.